COLUMN: They are humans, not 'bad hombres'

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

Border security is not something new; however, the dialogue around it has become filled with misconstrued information. It is time to challenge and fix to have more educated discussions and not just uninformed arguments.

The misconception that all immigrants are monstrous rapists and drug dealers has become the main stereotype when talking about undocumented citizens.

This is far from the truth.

We have actually observed a decrease in violent crimes in certain areas where the undocumented population has actually risen since the 1980s.

Individuals who come to the United States have no interest in breaking the law, especially when that means deportation.

Additionally, many immigrants come to the United States for a better life, new opportunities, and even asylum, and bring with them only what they can carry while they dangerously depart to the United States. Most of them are not even guaranteed entry.

When they do arrive, many have no family, no money, and can have hard times finding an employer that will even hire them.

Most jobs require social security numbers, and they do not have that, so they settle for jobs that do not ask questions, often leading to poor working conditions, being taken advantage of, and getting little pay—all with the threat of deportation being held over their heads.

It is also a rumor that these undocumented citizens do not pay taxes, yet they are able to abuse the welfare programs.

Many employers who hire these immigrants actually do take taxes out of their pay, yet unlike individuals with social security numbers, they are not able to file for tax refunds at the end of the fiscal year nor are they able to even apply for welfare.

You need a social security number for all of these things.

Yet people still believe much of this rhetoric when discussing border security, and very few tend to fact check or investigate any further than surface level.

The undocumented citizen story is often very unique and different than the common misconceptions that are blindly followed.

There are stories that need to be shared to show the flaws and struggles in the journey of becoming a legal citizen.

The journey boils down to money, lawyers, and a bit of luck, but even then, nothing is promised.

Just as the journey into the country was one of ambiguity, the journey of finally being recognized by the government is just the same.

While border security is something that needs to be discussed, the citizenship process and bold stereotypes need to be addressed as well.

The misconceptions need to be challenged.

Just because it aligns with one’s political affiliation does not always make it true, and not every undocumented person you meet is going to be a “bad hombre” simply based on their citizenship status.

There is a reason you cannot tell the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.